Relocation is difficult. Choosing a city is even more challenging. Since there’s no perfect place, you’ll have to carefully balance the risks and gains. On top of that, you’ll also have to account for the compromises you have to make.
That being said, this article will guide you through the differences between two prominent cities, Austin and Seattle. Which one should you call home? The Emerald City with its relaxing overcast skies, lush surroundings, and established aerospace industry? Or the City of the Violet Crown with its warm weather, live music, and tech-driven economy?
There’s only one way to find out.
Austin vs. Seattle
In order to keep the comparison simple, both cities will be evaluated according to five major categories that people usually look for when relocating: cost of living, economy, weather, environment and recreation, transportation, and community.
Cost of Living
This one isn’t even up for argument. Both real-life experiences and statistic reports state that Austin is way cheaper than Seattle. According to bestplaces.net, the overall cost of living difference shows that Seattle outprices Austin by at least 44.4%! The ultimate factor to this gap? Housing. Austin’s median home cost is only $369,000 compared to Emerald City’s $714,400.
Here are more facts to digest:
- Although transportation is 25% cheaper in Austin, traffic is also worse, especially on I-35, Mopac, and US 183.
- Seattle’s housing costs might be high, but the utilities such as water and electricity 30.6% cheaper than Austin utilities.
- You won’t notice a significant difference in other aspects like healthcare, entertainment, education, and groceries.
Considering the above, Austin is the cheaper place to raise a family.
Seattle might have lost the battle of expenses, but it has economic prowess. Home to some of Boeing’s largest factories, the city’s economy relies mainly on manufacturing. You’ll also do great with a career in finance, sales, healthcare, or education. It’s also important that there has been a positive growth of tech opportunities in recent years.
However, the digital progress in Seattle doesn’t quite hold up to Austin’s ever-growing tech industry. Big companies like Dell and AMD have established headquarters in the metro area. As the fastest growing city, Austin attracts more and more techies from the West Coast every day. Other profitable industries include advanced manufacturing, clean technology, financial services and insurance, life sciences, and data management.
On a positive note, both cities boast a remarkable unemployment rate, with Seattle having 2.9% and 2.6% for Austin. Either way, these numbers are still lower than the national average of 3.7%, reflecting both cities’ thriving economies.
Comparing both cities’ climates is rather straightforward. As you may have heard, Seattle’s quite famous for gray skies and occasional drizzles. Although its precipitation isn’t that intense, rainfall is evenly distributed throughout the year, giving the impression of cold, depressing weather.
On the other hand, the weather in Austin is completely different. What can you expect? It’s Texas! You’ll get to enjoy almost 300 days of sunshine but with occasional threats of thunderstorms, hail, and damaging winds. Sometimes, there’s even the freak winter storm.
Appreciating the weather is pretty subjective. Some love Seattle’s cozy weather, while others might prefer Austin’s sunny skies. It’s up to you.
Environment and Recreation
Both Austin and Seattle are blessed with beautiful parks, fun places, and gorgeous scenery. Starting with Seattle, the metro area lets you enjoy plenty of unique attractions. Explore the work of famed glass artist Dale Chihuly at the Seattle Center, unravel aviation secrets in the Museum of Flight, or purchase fresh fish at Pike’s Place Market. Want to get closer to nature? Wish granted! Hike the trails on Mount Rainer, kayak on the tranquil waters of Diablo Lake, or discover different kinds of flora in the Hoh Rainforest.
Of course, Austin won’t be outdone! The city takes pride in the 351-acre green space in Zilker Park, where you can play with your dog off-leash. Go on a family picnic on Lady Bird Lake’s shores while enjoying the skyline in the background. The University of Texas is also great for an educational and fun trip! Make sure you check out the telescopes! And if your enthusiastic day tour drains the soul out of you, you can always relax and listen to good live music in one of the hundreds of venues in Austin.
Environment-wise, Seattle is fantastic if you like exploring nature since there are plenty of scenic attractions around. The only downside to this is that you’ll have to travel to access these fantastic places. While Austin may not be as geographically diverse as Emerald City, its appeal lies in patches of green space incorporated within the city. You don’t need to travel far to enjoy iconic locations.
Welcome to the last factor that can help you decide. Community is a major factor most people look at in a potential city. What’s the purpose of an area with amazing perks, but you won’t get along with the people around you, right?
Diving right into the point, Seattle’s community is quite reserved and work-oriented, even to the point that outsiders call the residents snobs. This reputation gave birth to the infamous Seattle Freeze. However, keep in mind that not everyone in the city is like this. You can still make friends; it’s just going to be more of a challenge.
Meanwhile, Austin’s community is the opposite of Seattle’s. Residents are outgoing and friendly. The solid live music scene even amplifies the city’s warm atmosphere. However, watch out for the occasional locals who like to rant about how transplants are ruining the city. It’s best to ignore them and focus on the other likable aspects of the place.
Seattle or Austin? Rain or shine? Honestly, there’s no definitive answer. Both cities have varying characteristics that contribute to their appeal. Whatever decision you arrive at, make sure you hire a quality moving company. Good movers can go a long way in making your move go smoothly and reduce the stress you experience.